Just under 23 percent of all home mortgages across the United States are currently “under water,” according to a report by CoreLogic, the information, analytics and business services firm.
This means that 10.9-million residential property-owners (or about 22.7 percent of the total) owe their lenders more on their mortgages than what the their homes are actually worth (as of the end of the first quarter of 2011).
The good news is that this percentage is actually coming down slightly – from 11.1 million (or 23.1 percent), in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Real estate analysts call this phenomena “negative equity.”
“Many borrowers in negative equity are still able and willing to make their mortgage payments,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic.
“Those in negative equity and impacted by an income shock of some kind, such as a job loss, divorce, or death, are much more likely to be at risk of foreclosure or a short sale. The current economic indicators point to slow yet positive economic growth, which will slowly reduce the risk of borrowers experiencing income shocks.”
Fleming added: “Yet the existence of negative equity for the foreseeable future will weigh on the housing market recovery by holding back sale and refinance activity.”
Here are the ten states with the highest proportion of mortgaged properties currently under water:
*Note: the photographs are for illustration purposes only. It is not to be construed that the properties shown in the photographs are themselves under water.